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Karma and akarma

Once the Gopis’ needed to go across the river Yamunaji to serve food to Durvasa Muni. It was impossible for the Gopis’ to cross Yamunaji that time, as it was flooded with water. To seek a solution they went to Lord Krishna and asked for a favor. Lord Krishna gave this solution: "Go to the river and pray to Yamunaji, 'If Lord Krishna is ever celibate, give us way.'  The Gopis’ did exactly what Lord Krishna told them and to their astonishment Yamunaji gave them a way!

They crossed the river and reached the other side to serve the food to Durvasa Muni. Durvasa Muni and his disciples finished all the food. Now the Gopis’ needed to cross Yamunaji in order to come back home. The Gopis’ were worried as to how they would cross Yamunaji again. This time they asked Durvasa Muni for a favor. The Muni asked them how they cross Yamunaji the first time to serve the food.  The Gopis’ told him the whole incident.

Durvasa muni used the same trick. He told the Gopis’ to go to Yamunaji the same way and pray, “If Durvasa Muni is ever fasting, give us way”.  The Gopis’ did exactly the way they were told and to their astonishment, the river Yamuna again gave them a way!

It was an established fact that Lord Krishna was married and had about sixteen thousand women in his service. How can he ever be said to be ever celibate? The reason was that his mind was not dwelling even in even one of them at any point of time. His was physically present with them but his mind was submerged in brahma – the eternal existence.

Similarly, the Gopis’ served food with their own hands to Durvasa Muni and he finished all their food. Who would believe that Durvasa Muni could be labeled as ever fasting? It is equally true that the river Yamunaji would never give way in case the above statements were false. The only reason Yamunaji gave way to the Gopis’ was that the mind of Durvasa Muni was not in food. He performed the act of eating but his mind was forever engrossed in God.

The essence is that it matters the most how any act is performed. For those whose minds are attached to God or Brahma – the eternal existence, the performer is not considered as real doer of the act. They are considered as mere observers and hence their acts are described as ‘Akarma’ (Non-action) in the Bhagvat Gita.


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